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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Disaster Continues in Pakistan

Starting last week the news wires broke the story of the torrential floods in Pakisatan. The TV and internet showed reports of catastrophic waves of water literally submerging vast expanses of land and claiming the lives of hundreds of citizens.

At the same time the news networks over here were running the story of the Pakistani President's trips to Europe including a much publicised meeting with the British Prime Minister David Cameron after his recent visit to India where he claimed Pakistan was a supporting terrorists in its borders, something that drew significant dissent from the Government in Pakistan. One interviewee speaking on Sky News claimed that President Zadari's trip in terms of the scale of the disaster would have been something akin  to George W Bush talking his whole Senate on holiday during the Katrina disaster.

But now the relief effort has begun. The Taliban who are in control of a region in the north west of the country have asked the Government to reject foreign aid saying the Western aid agencies are trying to enforce their own agenda. It has stated it will fund the relief effort if the Government takes its advice.

The sheer scale of the disaster is difficult to believe. While the death toll stands at 1,500 (in conservative estimations) the number of people who have actually been directly effected by the floods is a staggering 14 million people. This figure is more than the numbers effected in the aiti Eathquake and 2005 Asian Tsunami combined.

The UN has pledged $400 million to the relief effort but the flooding is not over yet. The flood waters are expected to move further South over the coming days. The Indus river is expected to achieve an exceptionally high flood water. $20 million of the UN relief effort fund will focus on the South as the devastated area expands.

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